The 8 Best USB Lighters

Updated December 28, 2017 by Steven John

8 Best USB Lighters
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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. It seems that there is no product that can't be updated with modern technology. With no need for messy liquid fuels or butane, these USB lighters charge up quickly via any USB socket and provide reliable heat production for lighting camp fires, candles, gas grills and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best usb lighter on Amazon.

8. 3 Oaks Survival Series

This 3 Oaks Survival Series USB lighter is not a handsome device, and its design is not all that convenient for regular use, such as that warranted by a cigarette smoker. But its low cost and rugged construction do make it a great backup item for the camper or "prepper."
  • light indicates charging progress
  • compact and lightweight
  • finicky charger connection
Brand 3 Oaks
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Kivors Electronic Dual Pulse

Until it is opened and ignited, the Kivors Electronic Dual Pulse looks like a lighter that might have been flicked open in the 1950s instead of the 21st century thanks to its elegant faux wood grain exterior. Its dual arcs can ignite a cigarette faster than flame.
  • reliably windproof
  • low battery indicator light
  • fewer lights per charge than others
Brand Kivors
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Primo Coil

The gorgeous "Magic Rainbow" coloration of this device from Primo Coil makes it a wonder to behold. Just know that the more you hold it, the more time you will have to spend wiping off its handsome exterior to remove fingerprint smudging.
  • charges in less than 90 minutes
  • battery can be charged 500 times
  • small heat area
Brand Primo
Model Primo011
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. DROK Double Arc

A DROK Double Arc is a fine choice for the cigar smoker. As opposed to the single heated arc created by most similar types of lighters, this device creates a larger X-shaped area of heat, suitable for igniting the thick end of a fine cigar.
  • polymeric aluminum battery
  • handsome pattern on exterior
  • some units prone to failure
Brand DROK
Model 200185
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Mantello Coil

The Mantello Coil has a sleek, gunmetal gray finished exterior and a contemporary design that both belie its relatively low price. It is a durable little lighter, thanks to its zinc alloy shell and its strong ceramic head. The Mantello is backed by a one-year warranty.
  • charging cable included
  • ships in gift ready presentation
  • 200 to 300 lights per charge
Brand Mantello
Model pending
Weight 0.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. SPPARX Candle Lighter

Unlike many similar electric lighters, the SPPARX Candle Lighter's heated arc is at the very tip of the unit, making it, indeed, a great choice for lighting candle wicks, but also for starting gas grills or igniting the kindling beneath a fire.
  • hole for easy hanging
  • built-in safety switch
  • matte finish resists smudges
Model pending
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. OBON Mini Portable

The OBON Mini Portable is so slender and overall diminutive that it can be tucked into a coin pocket, a glove compartment, or even into a large wallet. It also doesn't look like a lighter at a quick glance, making it a good choice for situations where discretion is needed.
  • weighs just over one ounce
  • available in several colors
  • fits into standard cigarette pack
Brand OBON
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Tesla Coil Lighters

This handsome and reliable unit from Tesla Coil Lighters is the go-to choice for many discerning tobacco enthusiasts. It quickly and cleanly lights the smoking product of your choice, and catches the eye of any nearby fellow aficionados as well.
  • protective cloth sack included
  • charge lasts a week or more
  • great reviews from owners
Brand Tesla Coil Lighters
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Cigarette Lighter

While they can now be found at the counter of virtually any convenience store, gas station, or newsstand, the portable lighter's history only dates back about 200 years. The first lighter was developed by Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, a German chemist, in 1823.

Döbereiner's lamp, as is was called, uses a chemical reaction between zinc and sulfuric acid to create flammable hydrogen gas. The gas is then let out of the glass-encased device through a valve, at the mouth of which lies a piece of platinum gauze. The gas meets the platinum, which acts as a catalyst for an exothermic reaction between the hydrogen and the oxygen in the air, causing the platinum to get extremely hot. The heat it generates ignites the hydrogen gas, and the flame can be controlled by opening or closing the valve.

Unfortunately, though it was in production for nearly 80 years, Döbereiner's lamp was too dangerous for widespread adoption. By design, it traps leftover hydrogen gas inside after each use, making it highly explosive. It was also large and delicate, making it difficult to transport.

It wasn't until the patenting of ferrocerium in 1903 that the truly portable lighter became a possibility. Ferrocerium is a type of synthetic flint which produces extremely hot sparks when oxidized, which can be achieved with friction. Unlike flint, which creates sparks from the material used to strike it, when a hard metal like steel strikes a piece of ferrocerium, the sparks are actually flaming hot bits of the latter material itself. It is significantly cheaper than flint, making it ideal for use in disposable lighters.

Though contemporary models have all sorts of features designed to make your life easier, the lighters developed at the beginning of the 20th used the same basic technologies most lighters rely on today. They typically consist of a reservoir filled with a liquid fuel, such as naphtha or butane, with a wick that leads up to a nozzle. Next to the mouth of the nozzle sits a piece of ferrocerium (or, in some cases, actual flint), and a metal wheel which, when spun, generates friction against the stone and produces sparks. The sparks meet the fuel at the nozzle's opening and create a flame, which is often adjustable by opening or closing the nozzle. Various improvements, including wind and water-proof designs, were introduced beginning in the 1930s.

Notable exceptions to the standard include flameless lighters, such as those found built into many automobiles, as well as electric arc lighters, which use a steady spark for ignition. Both of these technologies are common among USB-powered models.

What Makes USB Lighters Different

USB lighters build on the standard portable lighter by replacing liquid fuel with electricity. This means they can never run out of fuel, as all that is required is a quick recharge in any USB port. It also makes them safer, as they contain no combustible elements, sparks, or liquid fuel-filled chambers. They can also usually be used in windy conditions, though, as they are electronic devices, they are mostly not waterproof.

Most USB lighters use one of two technologies. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, but both are considered highly safe and effective for most uses. The first is the electric arc lighter, which is both a handy companion and a eye-catching gadget, thanks to the visible stream of electricity it generates.

Electric arc lighters are powered by built-in rechargeable batteries. Some models plug directly into USB ports, while others require the use of an external charging cable. They work by placing two electrodes close enough to one another that, when a current from the battery is passed through one, it jumps through the air to the other. The current ionizes the air as it passes through, producing plasma, which is why models of this type are often called plasma lighters. Some models use two pairs of electrodes for a visual "x" effect.

The other popular type of USB lighter is similar to those found in most cars. It uses a metal coil that generates heat when an electric current passes through it. This type of lighter is best suited to igniting cigarettes and other things that catch flame easily. It would likely not be effective for starting a campfire on its own, for example, though it could be used to set a match or piece of paper alight, which could then be used for other purposes where a flame is necessary. The technology can be built into very small packages, often with built-in USB connectors that plug directly into a computer or other charging port.

The vast majority of USB lighters have added safety features like slide-out elements and delayed ignition. That way, if their triggers are accidentally pressed, you don't run the risk of lighting your pocket on fire. If you're going camping and are worried that your lighter's battery may not last for its duration, packing an external battery pack can keep the flames alive, so to speak.

A Few Notes On USB Lighter Safety

While there are plenty of safety features built into USB-powered and other flameless lighters, there are still some safety concerns that every user should keep in mind.

A plasma lighter's current is not strong enough to electrocute you, but it is hot enough to burn your skin. In order to effectively ignite paper, the arcs between the electrodes typically reach temperatures of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That's more than hot enough to do some damage if you come in direct contact with it. It is worth noting, however, that burns from electric arc lighters will be highly concentrated, as only the pinpoints where the arc makes contact with your skin will be burnt, unlike flame lighters which can damage much larger areas.

Coil-based electric lighters can also burn you. Their coils get just as hot as, if not hotter than, traditional lighters, which is why they can set other objects aflame on contact. Exercise caution when using them, and if your skin does come in contact with the heating element, take action immediately.

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Last updated on December 28, 2017 by Steven John

When not writing or spending time with his family, Steven tries to squeeze in some mountain climbing. In addition to writing for several websites and journals, Steven has published multiple novels.

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